TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Survivors SPEAK OUT!’

Past Blast: “Brain Injury Resources – Unleashed Talents”

“Brain Injury Resources – Unleashed Talents”

(originally published July 29, 2014)

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Can TBI Unleash a Talent That We Didn’t Know We Have?

 

Brain th-2TBI survivors are usually defined by others in negative terms. Survivors are often seen as people who are no longer able to do something they once did easily or as people who are physically disabled. It has become strikingly evident from the interviews on this blog (Survivors SPEAK OUT!) that TBI survivors, once they have accepted the new normal of their lives, often show immense courage and determination. They have aspirations and exhibit motivation that is intensified or that wasn’t even known to exist. Here are two videos that show a positive outcome from TBI.

The first video is long (1 hr, 5 min), but it is mesmerizing. In it, neurologist Dr. Darold Treffert discusses (with videos) the “savant syndrome.” It is thought that some abnormality in the brain unleashes a skill that normal people find to be phenomenal. At 29 min 20 sec into the video, Dr. Treffert discusses “The Acquired Savant” – a person who has become a savant after a brain injury. Although becoming a savant after a brain injury can happen, it’s rare. But, any model of the brain has to be able to explain the savant syndrome. Dr. Treffert suggests that the brain comes “fully loaded with software” and that the normal functional brain eventually suppresses much of its intrinsic “software” to reduce stimulation. This means that we all may have suppressed talents.

The second video is much shorter (15 min) and is relevant to all TBI survivors. Ann Zuccardy redefines what it means to be smart. A person may define himself or herself by a certain talent or ability. Does one’s life then become unfulfilling when that skill is lost as the result of a brain injury? Ann Zuccardy, who was affected by a brain injury, tells us that the loss of a dominant skill allows a person to nurture and/or develop other skills that may have been ignored. These other skills can be as useful as or even more impressive than the dominant one was.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor)

 

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . Ina M. Dutkiewicz (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Ina M. Dutkiewicz (survivor)

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.

The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.

On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.

The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.

If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

Ina M. Dutkiewicz (survivor)

Dutkiewicz, Ina M. Survivor 2 041316

Ina M. Dutkiewicz- Brain Injury Survivor

I had a near-fatal car accident on my way to work on February 3, 2010. I was immediately put into a coma from the violent crash, and I stayed in that coma for over four weeks. My pelvis was broken on both sides from my seat belt. When I woke up, I was classified as “not weight bearing” (wheelchair-bound). I slowly moved to a walker, and then to a cane. Now I can navigate without the cane if the weather is nice and not snowy or icy. I had to learn to walk again (I still have gait problems), as well as relearn to swallow and eat. (They started me out with ice cream! 🙂 ) I also had to do disability driving lessons before I could drive again.

It has been a long, scary road these past seven years. I was not willing to give up on myself, and I gave my all and then some to my recovery. I am hoping to someday return to work part-time.

Thank you Ina M. Dutkiewicz for sharing your story.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Peter Corfield

Survivors  SPEAK OUT!  Peter Corfield

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Peter Corfield - Brain Injury Survivor - 2010

Peter Corfield – Brain Injury Survivor – 2010

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Peter Corfield

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

Marcilly En Bassigny, France      petercorfield3@gmail.com

3. When did you have your brain injury? At what age?

My brain injury happened on June 1, 2010. I was 55 years old.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

I had a stroke caused by bleeding of an AVM (arteriovenous malformation).

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

After returning from an art course, my wife found me on the floor.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?

I was stabilized, and then I was helicoptered to Dijon Hospital. There they did a craniotomy and repaired the vein.

Peter Corfield - Brain Injury Survivor 2010

Peter Corfield – Brain Injury Survivor – 2010

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

Yes. I was put into a coma for about two and a half weeks.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?

I was sent to a rehab centre. There I had rehab for five and a half months.

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your brain injury
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I was hemiplegic (paralysis of one side of the body) with left-side paralysis, and I had an anxiety problem in the form of overactive bladder.

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

My life has changed a great deal. In some ways, it is better; in others, much worse.

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?

I miss being able to sleep in a normal bed with my wife. I also miss playing my guitar and driving.

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?

I like being able to help others who have had the same experience.

13. What do you like least about your brain injury?

I dislike the lack of normality.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?

My wife’s support has helped. Also my writing has been important.

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

It has. My wife and I sleep apart. But, my stroke has made me more thoughtful towards others. I think I am a better person.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

Yes. My anxiety affects our going out in the dark. The anxiety also makes it awkward to sit on chairs with no arms.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

My wife is my caregiver. I fully understand how hard it is for her. It drives me on to recovery.

18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

I am determined to be recovered enough to look after my wife and to be helping other stroke survivors

19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other survivors with your specific kind of injury.

Keep a diary to realise just how much you have improved, as recovery is slow.

Corfield, Peter  Leg Push

Peter Corfield – Brain Injury Survivor – 2010

20. What advice would you offer to other survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

I have written Kindle stroke-experience books. I donate all royalties to The ARNI (Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury) Institute (http://www.arni.uk.com) to try to help other stroke-affected people.

 

Thank you, Peter, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Photos compliments of Peter.)

 

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